Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lulu in Marrakech

Stumbling. Diane Johnson’s novel, Lulu in Marrakech, is packed with a series of interesting scenes full of confusion and cultural misunderstandings and prejudices. The protagonist, whom we know by her undercover name, Lulu Sawyer, works as a CIA agent in Marrakech trying to identify the source of funds for terrorism. Lulu landed in Morocco to follow her new English lover, Ian Drumm, whom she met in Kosovo when they both worked there with refugees. Lulu is the unlikeliest of spies, and her cultural clashes are often both hilarious and tragic. While Lulu stumbled and bumbled her way through one scene after another, I read on, hoping that all the pieces would come together and that relationships and characters would develop. This didn’t happen. Diane Johnson is a fine writer, and she added a treat in the form of interesting quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The sum of the pieces here don’t add up to become an enjoyable, entertaining or enlightening novel.

Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)

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